I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning
Despite most of the actual tracks coming off without a hitch, transitions between the aforementioned were filled with awkward silence and desperate stalling. Oberst, though incredibly conversational and engaging as a songwriter, is far less charismatic as a performer, taking way too much time to tune his guitar or get focused on the task at hand. The leader was even visibly shaken following a sea of screams from his faithful, flubbing up the words being sung at one point and sheepishly apologizing for the blunder.
But the converted didn't appear to mind, instead patiently waiting and desperately hoping for more recognizable recollections. They weren't plentiful, but Bright Eyes delivered in a handful of instances, recalling notables like "Padraic My Prince" (from 1998's Letting Off The Happiness) and "Make War" (from Lifted Or The Story Is In The Soil). However, it was "When The President Talks To God" that truly stuck out from the pack, which first rose to fame during last fall's Vote For Change outing with R.E.M. and Bruce Springsteen. No matter what one's political agenda, the superb craftsmanship and daring candor in assessing the country's current leader was undeniable and riveting.
After closing the night with the I'm Wide Awake finale "Road To Joy" (a tension building all out electric barreler) the crowd once again championed Oberst and his rotating cast as indie rock royalty. Granted, the hype has been overwhelming since the frontman's public spotlight debut at age 13 (he's now 24) yet that doesn't discount the genuine talent and promise displayed throughout the evening. Neither of the new records are free of fault, nor was every moment of the show, but at least Bright Eyes on the whole encompassed expressive intricacy and variety. That, with additional refinement, could potentially leave them among the lineage of America's most lauded troubadours.
LP / CD / MP3
LP / CD / Deluxe CD / MP3